By Chukwudi Ndubeze
Chief of Staff to Anambra State governor, Chief Primus Odili has identified agriculture as one of the chief among the routes of driving youths out of unemployment and crimes.
Chief Odili made this known on Wednesday while addressing newsmen at the 3rd and 4th Annual Lecture of the Faculty of Social Sciences, held at Chief Ben Nwazojie Auditorium, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Igbariam Campus of the state.
He said the state government is making concerted effort in absorbing the youths into agricultural programmes to quell their involvement in crimes and other social vices destabilizing the peace and tranquility in the state.
“With the height of crimes and criminality in the country, Anambra has provided agriculture as an alternative to absorbing unemployed youths who could be misled into crimes and illegalities.
“The governor understood that white collar jobs cannot solve our problems but agriculture which has capacity to absorb large population of unemployed youths,” he said.
Chief Odili who was the chairman of the occasion blamed poor entrepreneurial skills among youths as the bane of rising unemployment, stressing that impactful education holds keys to unlocking skills and economic potentials of youths in the country.
Disputing claims by Nigerians who view tribalism as primary cause of corruption and social ills bedeviling the country, Chief Odili argued that tribalism could be a veritable tool for strengthening Nigeria’s unity and growth if properly utilized.
Speaking on “Social Exchange Theory & The Nigeria Trajectories: Sustaining an (Un)Holy Matrimony,” a professor of Applied and Health Psychology, University of Ibadan, Prof. Peter Olapegba, described Nigeria as a product of troubled marriage of many tribes whose separate values and ideologies have failed to yield unity and peaceful coexistence.
Prof. Olapegba blamed explosive population figures, lopsided political appointments, elite corruption, religion and quest for fiscal federalism as threats to the Nigeria’s unity and stressed that only national dialogue would douse the tribally-motivated tensions in the country.
Furthermore, Engr. Vincent Okeke, who spoke on “Impactful Tertiary Education: Panacea for Youth Unemployment in Nigeria,” charged the youths to take their future in their hands by embracing entrepreneurship, irrespective of the sector.
Engr. Okeke noted that students across institutions of learning should be made to acquire diversity of knowledge that informs skills of critical thinking, creativity and innovations as such possession would yield independent living and prepare graduates to work for themselves instead of others.
Meanwhile, the Vice Chancellor of the institution, Prof. Greg Nwakoby, represented at the occasion by the Vice Chancellor (Administration) Prof. Solomon Ekwenze, said that the event was timely especially at the time when the country is struggling with the challenge of insecurity and harsh economy.
Also speaking, The Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, Prof. Obiajuru Obikeze maintained that the institution trains students to contribute to the growth and development of the society.
The Professor of political science said the issues treated at the seminar concern unemployment and issues threatening the unity of Nigeria. He reemphasized the need to discard emphasis on certificates as well as review of education curriculum to awaken entrepreneurial spirit in the youths.
In her contribution, the Seminar Committee Chairperson, Prof. Angela Nwammuo, advised students to keep away from crimes and vices that could derail them from being successful in life. She also urged youths to devote their time to developing entrepreneurial skills that would be beneficial to their careers as employees or employers of labour.
In the same vein, a lecturer in the Mass Communication Department, Dr. Gideon Nwafor, said the event re-evaluated how impactful education can be a panacea to tackling youths unemployment in the country. He said the remedy to incessant vices among youths lies in making education purpose driven.
In their separate reactions, Osita Ozioko and Ikechukwu Elobisi, both postgraduate students expressed gratitude to the school management for organizing the seminar. They said the event was not only an eye opener but educative and inspiring.
High point of the event was the special award to the Chief of Staff in recognition of his contributions to the development of education in the state.